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Last post Author Topic: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?  (Read 17196 times)

tomos

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #25 on: October 30, 2009, 06:28:59 PM »
What's important to me with an imaging programme is that it doesnt backup the hibernation file (2GB here) and the paging file if you have one on the C drive. Incremental backups are a big plus. Beyond that, of course (as mouser says) that it really works :)
Tom

MilesAhead

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #26 on: October 30, 2009, 11:01:03 PM »
I bought the Paragon Drive Backup Personal 9.0.  It has file exclusion on image backups which is okay if you want to exclude a few big files.  For example I used to exclude my DVD folder.  If I did a restore there would be "phantom entries" in the DVD folder for dvd images that didn't really exists... but just deleting them fixed that.

The problem comes if you have a folder tree with hundreds of files in it.  The Paragon backup will tick off the name of every file it is excluding so that the backup will take 5 hours instead of 15 minutes.  You are better off just to move the big files you don't want to throw away, onto an external drive before the backup.

So far I haven't found an image backup with exclusion that doesn't have this same problem.  Other than that the Paragon is fine.  One thing about the Macrium is you get network support without buying some "deluxe" version.

Also just a few days ago I tested the Macrium Linux boot CD and it recognized an internal Sata drive in a USB Docking station(which was a relief since I mainly use that for backups.)
« Last Edit: October 30, 2009, 11:02:42 PM by MilesAhead »

xtabber

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #27 on: October 30, 2009, 11:16:29 PM »
Given today's huge drives -- and the huge amount of data that tends to fill them up (nature abhors a vacuum),  I don't think full drive imaging is a good solution. If it takes too long to image one's drive, it just won't get done often enough to provide proper protection.

My suggestion is to partition the drive into at least two logical drives. The C: drive should be relatively small (say, 30GB on a 500GB drive, 50GB on a 1TB drive) and should be used only for software installations (a pain to restore) and data that is critical and changes frequently, such as email, current work, etc.. Everything else should go on the D:, etc. drives.

The C: drive can then be easily imaged regularly. The D:, etc. drives don't need to be imaged, but rather should be mirrored or synced to one or more external drives, or a backup computer.

I have 4 logical drives on my primary work desktop system, with D:, E: and F: used for different types of data and storage. I create a full image of C: on another partition at least once a month and always before installing anything that might scramble something. At the end of each month, I image C:, copy the image file to a bootable DVD and store that in a fireproof safe in my basement.

On my working notebook (which has no built-in optical drive), I have two logical drives and regularly image C: to D:. I also keep a copy of the most recent image of C: on a bootable USB flash drive, from which I can restore the system to a working state in case of disaster on the road.

I use Acronis True Image Home (currently 2009) for my imaging and UltraISO to create my bootable DVDs. I never use incrementals (too fragile and slow to retrieve) but keep current work and critical data synchronized between a couple of systems (at the minimum, my desktop and notebook).

MilesAhead

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #28 on: October 31, 2009, 02:54:03 PM »
I did the multiple partition thing so only my OS was on C: years ago.  The trouble with Windows is even if you install stuff on D: or E: many of the applications, such as Visual C++/Visual Studio insist on putting a bunch of stuff on C: making it difficult to guess how much space to allocate.  Back then I could jockey the drive space around with Partition Magic, but it was still a pita.

The approach I take now is to run with at least 70% free space.  If I don't want to throw away what I'm deleting, I move it off to an external drive.  Defrags are fast since there's plenty of free space to work with.  Image backups are small, typically 20 GB after compression. I have a 2 PC setup with network so I can back up from my main machine to the external connected to the other machine, and be surfing with the secondary machine. I make multiple backups every week since it only takes between 10 and 20 minutes.

Periodically I back up to drives that are only connected during backup and I swap out the drive in the docking station so that I have recent backups in case all the connected drives should be simultaneously infected by some wonder virus.

The last time I ran with 80% disk space used was on a machine with an 80 GB drive.  Once I got to 200 GB or higher I run them lean.  The maintenance chores are all faster and (almost) fun since they rarely exceed 1/2 hour.

40hz

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #29 on: November 02, 2009, 11:12:44 AM »
Faster drives and interfaces will also have a major influence on how we chart our future backup plans.

Despite Intel's general foot-dragging over direct support for USB 3.0, it is starting to make its appearance courtesy of ASUS and some other board manufactureres. Once USB 3.0 becomes more generally available, there will be some additional options available for various backup strategies.

A few USB 3.0 hardware links for anyone interested:

   http://www.maximumpc...on_card_will_sell_30

   http://www.maximumpc...troller_availability

   http://www.maximumpc...a_6gbs_compatibility

The new 6Gb/sec SATA spec also holds promise.

Good intro article here: www.maximumpc.com/article/news/seagate_amd_demo_6gbsec_sata

« Last Edit: November 02, 2009, 11:20:56 AM by 40hz »

Bjorn_Bear

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #30 on: November 07, 2009, 03:41:12 AM »
Don't even think about restoring back onto your main hard drive.. ever.

Done that, the output was like a black hole in the universe.

superboyac

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2009, 05:25:23 PM »
This is such good advice, thanks mouser.

I've been through the ringer about all this backup business.  Back in 2003, my IBm Deathstar failed and I lost a huge amount of music.  I didn't have any backup in place at the time.  Since then, I have been very crazy about backing everything up.  In my current computer system (see thread here) you can see how many drives are added simply for the purpose of backing things up.

The setup goes like this:
--Main hard drive (for OS and apps)
--Main hard drive (for documents and files)
--Backup #1 (backs up the two main drives above; images for the OS drive, file-synching for the document drive)
--Backup #2 (backs up backup #1, accomplished through file-synching)

I even have an additional spare drive since I'm using a 2-bay enclosure.  backup #1 is inside my tower, backup #2 is in the external enclosure, and the other bay just has whatever spare drive in there (I just use it to play around with things).  Now, that means I'm using a total of 5 drives!  I'm almost crossing the line between a normal home PC and some kind of mini-corporate server setup.

Is my setup perfect?  not really.  As mouser said, there can be several weaknesses even with all the redundancy I have.  For one thing, I haven't figured out a good schedule for doing images (for the main drive).  I basically just do it occasionally whenever I feel like it.  Then, do I replace existing images?  Do I do some kind of incremental system?  Do I do separate images for each time?  The issue with imaging is that the files are very big, and even with cheap drives, you can fill them up pretty fast with images.  And it's not just an issue of getting additional hard drives (which ARE cheap).  If I add more drives now, i have to think about doing a serious server setup...with NAS connections, or RAID, or I don't even really know about that stuff.  Once you get into that, the equipment gets really expensive.

Another issue is that all of this stuff is located in the same room.  I should probably keep an additional drive in my parents' house or something.  Or back it all up with some kind of uploading service.  There is a lot to consider here.  Backing up properly is a complex thing.  People who don't know a lot about computers have no idea what is involved.  Imaging, multiple drives, file syncing, external enclosures.  A lot of people think all they need to do is burn their files to a DVD.

One thing I worry about is just like mouser said.  I have the backup drives (where one backs up the backup).  But let's say I get a horrible virus that infects everything and that gets backed up, and then the backup gets backed up.  Well, now I have triple-redundancy, but they are all completely infected.  So what now?  I don't know...that's where incremental backups and versioning comes in.  But then you will start need more drives, and you get into the whole thing I mentioned above.  You see how crazy it is?  Ugh...

urlwolf

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2009, 01:38:58 AM »
A few questions.
I use an eSATA external drive an am very happy with it.
But does anyone know if this eSATA external drive could ever be plugged into a laptop? Will eSATA be a standard at some point?

Second. Since I'm running windows server 2008 as a desktop, many backup programs want an eye and a leg to work there. Does anyone know of a good imaging tool (for the system partition) that does incrementals and is free/cheap?

Third... how do you test a system partition backup? I'm not comfortable risking the entire setup just to test the backup...

Thanks

lanux128

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #33 on: November 23, 2009, 06:20:52 AM »
here's a good blog article where ten commercial imaging apps are compared. 10 Commercial Disk Imaging Software Features and Backup/Restore Speed Comparison

firefox.exe-23_11_2009-001_ver001_thumb.png

40hz

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #34 on: November 23, 2009, 06:35:28 AM »
Third... how do you test a system partition backup? I'm not comfortable risking the entire setup just to test the backup...

If you don't use swappable drive trays, the easiest way is to temporarily install a spare hard drive into your PC and do a test restore onto that.


Lutz_

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #35 on: November 23, 2009, 03:25:48 PM »
This test looks ambitious.  Perhaps I am not able to navigate this website, but where are the actual tests?  Big introduction, nice feature table, and then I cannot find any tests and only a two-sentence conclusion (Acronis wins on features?).

here's a good blog article where ten commercial imaging apps are compared. 10 Commercial Disk Imaging Software Features and Backup/Restore Speed Comparison
 (see attachment in previous post)

skwire

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #36 on: November 24, 2009, 10:19:40 AM »
I have used Windows Home Server as my backup/fileserver solution since its inception (I was part of the beta test group).  I can't say enough good things about it.  I don't use a pre-built box; I bought the software and built a box specifically for it.

superboyac

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Re: You have a computer backup plan.. but does it work?
« Reply #37 on: November 24, 2009, 10:30:41 AM »
I have used Windows Home Server as my backup/fileserver solution since its inception (I was part of the beta test group).  I can't say enough good things about it.  I don't use a pre-built box; I bought the software and built a box specifically for it.
Looks interesting, i didn't know about it.  I'll have to check it out!